A new stimulant is trending in Florida and across the nation. It’s called Flakka, and it has been the central component in a number of bizarre stories over the past few months.
What Is Flakka?
Flakka is a stimulant akin to cocaine and methamphetamine. Users report similar experiences to methamphetamine, with an increased sense of euphoria, intense concentration, and more energy. Sometimes called “gravel,” flakka is crystalline and it looks like little rocks. Users can inject, snort, or smoke it. It is also becoming extremely popular to vape flakka in common nicotine vaporizers. That makes it easy to hide and quick to enter the system!
Of course, the high of flakka has its lows. Much like methamphetamine, once users get the high there is a propensity to chase that high with more and more drug. Over hours to days of not sleeping, users can become aggressive or even begin to hallucinate and act irrationally. That explains the spate of naked flakka users doing anything from crossing the street to brandishing weapons atop a cabin in South Florida. And, as with any stimulant, the comedown can be brutal. When users have expended so much energy and used up naturally occurring brain chemicals, it is hard to get back to normal. Depression and listlessness can set in along with a strong desire to get more stimulants.
Same As It Ever Was
In the continuing effort to outwit the law, flakka has been legal up to this point. It is almost assured it will become illegal, but it’s ease of acquisition has helped fan the flames of flakka abuse. Even when it becomes illegal, there will still be other ways to find stimulants, and there will probably be a new designer drug on the streets in months.
The point is, it’s always good to be aware of the new drugs available on the streets and even in the stores. If you or someone you know is having problems with drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out for help!
Over the past decade or so a new heroin-like drug has spread across Russia and spilled out to other countries, including the United States. Krokodil, a home-brewed opiate that rots the skin of its users, became popular because it is cheap and can be made with easily obtainable codeine and chemicals. The life-expectancy of a Krokodil addict is about 3-years.
The people who use Krokodil know this. They see skin falling off their bodies. They are under no delusion about its dangers. They try it though, and they keep using it as they die in front of their own eyes.
Addiction In The Face Of Death
People try drugs for various reasons. Some are just curious. Others are adventurous. Others are trying to find something to make them feel better, because they are hurting or don’t fit in. No matter why people start, some of them will become addicted.
Krokodil is a study in addiction. Once addicted, the need to get high or to maintain a chemical dependence is so strong, people will delude themselves into forgetting about the dangers in order to continue. Open wounds are acceptable if they can stave off the terror of detoxing or facing the uphill battle of recovery. It is a dark, lonely place. Better to die than live with such a fear.
Recovery In The Face Of Life
Addicts do make it out. Krokodil is so destructive it can easily take lives before many users have the clarity of mind to turn it around. Still, once a hand reaches out for help, there is a chance for recovery. This isn’t a movie, where after a few weeks of pain the world suddenly becomes perfect. It is a painful process full of hard truths and brutal self-appraisals. Still, the rewards for most recovering addicts are worth it. Like waking from a bad nightmare, what begins with fear and disorientation turns into a new reality full of possibility and hope. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, there is help. Reach out your hand.
As discussed in an earlier post on this blog, prescription opioid abuse predicts future heroin use. New laws for Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, and other Hydrocodone pharmaceuticals instituted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could increase this problem in the short term.
The DEA has reclassified hydrocodone combination products, such as Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab, from schedule III to schedule II. This reclassification under the Controlled Substances Act makes those products more difficult to obtain. Patients are required to visit the doctor more often, and physicians can no longer easily call in prescriptions to the pharmacy. In most cases, patients must present a hand-written prescription in person.
This move comes in response to epidemic-levels of misuse of prescription opioids in the United States. To put the problem in perspective, 99% of all hydrocodone produced in the world is used in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 113 people die as a result of drug overdose per day. Thousands more are admitted to emergency rooms. Prescription drug overdose has become one of, if not THE, leading causes of accidental death in America.
The Dark Side of Enforcement
One potential issue is there are some patients who genuinely need help with the most severe forms of pain. Patients with cancer are specifically in need of pharmaceutical intervention, as well as patients with other conditions that cause acute pain. However, a massive number of people using opioids do not have these conditions, and addiction is becoming a national epidemic.
There is another dark side to this reaction by the DEA. When abusers of prescription drugs can no longer get hydrocodone, they often turn to heroin. The focus of the epidemic gets shifted from one substance to another, both with very similar effects. And though prescription opioid addiction and heroin addiction rival each other, there is no dosage or quality control for heroin. Deaths and horror stories continue to happen all over America.
Opioid addiction, both prescription and not, is at epidemic levels in the United States. Law enforcement is trying to react to stem the tide, but pressures at the prescription level often push users to heroin. If you or somebody you know is having problems with opioid addiction, there is help available at this site and in centers and rooms across the country.
One of the newest designer drugs to hit the market is known as NBOMe. It is a psychedelic drug which claims to have effects similar to other hallucinogens like LSD.
However, NBOMe is being called one of the most dangerous synthetic drugs available and is linked to a number of deaths across the nation.
According to Rick Allen, Director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, “All it takes is one little slip up, one little dip too much, and someone could overdose and die from it.”
How the designer drug NBOMe sold
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the drug is being sold as a powder or liquid solution. It is also found soaked onto blotter paper or laced into food items. The drug is being marketed online and also being sold via word of mouth. It is most commonly marketed to young adults in school areas with a majority of those being seen in the hospital aged just 15 to 16 years old.
Effects of NBOMe
While the drug claims to have similar effects to LSD, officials are warning that it is far more potent and deadly. Effects of the drug tend to last 6 to 10 hours, with some users reporting durations longer than 12 hours. Small amounts of the drug can cause seizures, cardiac and respiratory arrest and even death.
NBOMe is a relatively new substance and little is known about its long term risks or how it will interact with other substances. It is a highly potent serotonin agonist and there are numerous reports of deaths and significant injuries due to the use of the drug. Law officials have reported encounters with users who are aggressive and uncooperative leading to increased concerns about health and safety.
NBOMe is a dangerous substance and one of the newest “designer” drugs to hit the market. It is incredibly powerful and can lead users to experience a number of serious side effects including seizures or death.
Designer drugs are drugs that have been created to mimic the effects of illegal substances while still attempting to be sold legally. They are often made in homes or secret illegal labs. They can be made from plant substances or entirely synthetic chemicals that can be legally purchased in order to attempt to create a new “legal” substance.
Examples of designer drugs
New crops of designer drugs are hitting the streets all the time. As drug dealers attempt to stay one step ahead of authorities, they will change formulas rapidly hoping to be able to claim that their product is legal. Many dealers will market their product as incense, plant food, or even dietary supplements in order to avoid legal intervention. For example, Spice, which claims a marijuana-like effect, is marketed as incense, while bath salts which claim cocaine-like high were sold as plant food. Other drugs are sold in powder form and labeled “not for human consumption” and sold under the premise that they are for animals or to be used for study or research.
Designer drugs are dangerous because the combinations used to create them are untested and can cause unknown effects on the brain and a user’s health and behavior. Also, because the drugs are created so quickly with chemicals that are not meant for human consumption, there is little known about the long term health effects for users. In an unmonitored lab, it is likely that chemical errors can occur. Also, it is nearly impossible to know the potency or ingredients that are used in a designer drug. The amount of active ingredient can vary wildly from one dose to the next leaving users with no way to anticipate what the effects will be or if they are taking a dangerous dose. All of these factors lead to a high rate of accidental overdoses and deaths for users of these substances.
Designer drugs are dangerous substances made by in illegal labs by dealers who are hoping to sell a borderline legal product which mimics the effects of illegal substances. With no controls in place, no monitoring, and little known about the chemicals being used, users risk serious health issues including dangerous side effects, addiction and death. If you are using designer drugs or know someone who is click here to contact a professional that can lead you or a loved one to the help they need.
As more drugs become controlled substances, new synthetic alternatives are hitting the streets claiming to be legal versions of illicit drugs and promising similar effects with little to no risks. However, as many new drugs are being marketed as “dietary supplements” in the hopes of avoiding regulations and inspections, they are often unmonitored and can contain an unknown cocktail of chemicals. Party Pills, sold legally under brand names like Cok-N, Xplode, or XTC, are some of the newest drugs in stores claiming to offer users a legal and safe high.
What are Party Pills?
A psychoactive substance meant to offer an effect similar to amphetamines, ecstasy, or LSD. The main ingredient in Party Pills was originally benzylpiperazine (BZP). BZP is now listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance, so current versions of the drug contain a wide variety of substances the most common of which are: caffeine, citrus aurantium and geranamine (geranium extract).
Marketed as a dietary supplement, party pills are largely unregulated and untested. Due to the lack of monitoring, there is virtually no way to know what substances the pills actually contain or to know the exact amounts in each pill. Falsely touted as a natural supplement, or an “herbal high” party pills are entirely synthetic containing no natural ingredients.
Many brands of party pills claim to offer cocaine or methamphetamine like effects. Users have reported experiencing alertness and euphoria with effects lasting four to six hours.
The side effects of the drug include blurred vision, dilated pupils, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, vomiting, hallucinations, hyperventilation, repertory failures, and seizures. Hospitalization most often occurs when the user mixes party pills with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs.
Because these substances are relatively new, there is little known about their long term effects. Studies suggest that use of party pills could lead to long term anxiety and increase the likelihood of dependency and other stimulant abuse.
Since the ingredients in party pills cause a similar reaction as other central nervous system stimulants, users are likely facing similar harm. Although party pills create similar effects at a reduced strength, once an individual becomes accustomed to functioning in an altered state, he or she can face withdrawal symptoms leading to dependence and ultimately addiction.
No drugs, despite their labeling or claims, are risk free. Party Pills are another “legal” drug made in an attempt to bypass the current controlled substances laws. With no way to know exactly what is in them or the long term effects on health, users are taking a risk consuming a drug that falsely markets itself as “natural and safe.”